Conflict is the fuel of storytelling.

It is also one of the elements of narrative design that distinguishes one application of storytelling from another, and even one genre from another.

Just like you won't get very far filling up your diesel tank with kerosene, borrowing conflict mechanisms from moviemaking doesn't always work for marketing.

Ticking time bombs work in movies because they raise the stakes, making us pay closer attention and care more. So marketers take this trope and create countdown timers to increase urgency - buy now, or this door will close forever.

But audiences have wisened up, and realize that it's a gimmick. LIMITED offer, act NOW, save TODAY, we know it's 🐂 💩.

Sure, it may increase your conversions in the short-term, but in the long term it devalues your offer and makes your audience lose trust in you. Because ultimately it pits the customer against you - instead of identifying the true problem they have and focusing on defusing that conflict.

What should you do instead?

When you've identified a true problem your audience has, raise the stakes by showing what might happen if the problem remains unsolved.

You're not forcing anyone's hand, you're just telling a story.

If the story resonates, they'll know you have the solution.